2014 NFL Draft: Armchair Scouting Teddy Bridgewater

Future Texan? - Andy Lyons

Since Houston has locked up the #1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, college football has finally been on Matt Weston's mind. Take your shoes off, step inside his cranium and read his notes from Saturday's Russell Athletic Bowl when Teddy Bridgewater's Cardinals played the Miami Hurricanes.

In order to help make this easier to understand, the game clock will be in bold and the time I took the note will be in italics.

Ohhhhh, yeeeaaaaah! Teddy B is here to help cleanse the wounds of this past season for us. The only bummer going into this game is (A) Teddy Bridgewater has not made a decision to come out just yet; (B) We have not had a chance to watch him play in a few weeks; and (C) He is playing against a crappy Miami defense. It is a shame he did not get matched up against a top college defense like LSU or South Carolina. Oh well, those are only minor gripes. I am giddier than a tweaked out meth head who just got his hands on an ATM card. Let's get on with the Russell Athletic Bowl.

1st Qtr

11:57 (5:55): Bridgewater really stood no chance on that play. He was looking left and the safety blitzed from deep in right centerfield. I don't think I have seen a blitz come from that far away actually work in all my years scrounging around on this blue marble we call home. 2-0 MIA.

9:24 (6:04): He gets outside rapidly on boots and rolls. I love how he can roll to the left, square his shoulders and step into his throws when he moves the direction opposite of his primary arm.

8:08 (6:06): Glances left, looks to the right and has two men open; one open short and the other intermediate. He did the opposite of what we have seen Matt Schaub do this year. Bridgewater throws it to the deeper man, who runs a post towards the sideline. Not only was it the right decision, but Bridgewater hit him in stride as well.

7:36 (6:07): Another roll out to the left and another accurate throw where he squares his shoulders and delivers.

7:01 (6:08): Bridgewater even looks graceful when he hands the ball off to the running back.

6:15 (6:08): Interior pressure comes, which is the most difficult type of pressure for a quarterback to deal with, and he splits it effortlessly. Teddy steps up in the pocket and completes a pass to his receiver for a five yard gain.

5:56 (6:12): 3rd and 3. He has a man deep down the sideline...and he overthrows him. He had him open and now Louisville has to settle for a field goal to make the game 3-2.

5:41 (6:18): Stephen Morris loves to throw the ball deep. He should change his name to Stephen "Eff' It I'm Going Deep" Morris if he can snag the copyrights from Case Keenum and Rex Grossman.

5:03 (6:19): Morris rolls out to the left now and the ball does not come out nearly as well as Bridgewater's. It is astonishing to see the difference in their mechanics thus far.

3:51 (6:21): Great throw out to the sideline, and the receiver drops it. The amount of arm strength and accuracy needed to make those 12-17 yard throws to the sideline is excruciatingly important. Bridgewater has an excellent arm and the accuracy needed to make these difficult throws. What we have seen with Keenum is that he can throw the ball forty yards down field with no real zip and short to tight ends and running backs, but he cannot throw the deep curls, outs, or digs necessary to be successful in the pro game. If you can't throw those routes, defenses will just go two deep, take away the deep ball and force you to throw short.

3:44 (6:22): Sweet throw down the seam. I can just imagine him making that same throw to Garrett Graham or Ryan Griffin next year. Hopefully, this will be reality and not a mirage or some idea that Leonardo DiCaprio incepted into my brain.

2:29 (6:24): Another man open on a deep pass and another overthrow. So far, the only aspect Bridgewater has struggled with is deep ball inaccuracy.

2:23 (6:25): Steps up in the pocket and dumps the ball off on 3rd and 15. Yes, it is easy to gripe about not taking a chance and going for the first, but after seeing the replay it seems like there was nothing open down field at all. So instead he took what he could and set up an easier field goal for the kicker. 6-2 Louisville.

:21 (6:33): Someone needs to call John F. Ward and Russell Athletic to get #70, John Miller, a larger jersey. He is wearing a bib from Joe's Crab Shack. I am now starting to think that he still has not learned how to work the magical dryer since he moved out of the house. Yo John, you can't be drying your delicates on high heat, bro.

Wow, that was sick nasty. Bridgewater threaded the needle in between two defenders on that one. Most quarterbacks would have been picked off trying to make a throw like that. With his accuracy and arm strength, he is able to get away with throws like this.

:02 (6:34): Then he keeps it on a zone read and gets fifteen.

2nd Qtr

14:33 (6:38): Screen. Bridgewater looks right to set up the screen and then quickly throws the ball to the left. Great play design and he does a great job of using his eyes to manipulate the defense.

11:02 (6:52): Another great example of how Bridgewater goes through his reads. He continuously looks one way to diagnose what is going on before he makes a decision. You rarely see a college quarterback go through reads like he does.

8:34 (6:55): Miami brings a big blitz and Bridgewater is still able to take five steps, plant and get the ball out before the blitz arrives. His drop back is swift enough to not be harassed by the blitz, and he does an excellent job planting and getting rid of the ball.

7:16 (6:57): There is the deep ball that I had found fault with earlier. Again, he glances one way, then progresses through all of his reads, and throws in the other direction. On this play, he looks left to move the single high safety so he would not have a chance to disrupt the go route on the right side. When he looks back the other way, the safety realizes what is going on and he even trips over himself to try and help out in time. Click this link and watch his head look left and snap to the right before he makes the throw. Oh man, that was gorgeous.

Just look at this release on this throw.

Screen_shot_2013-12-29_at_8

He is straight, square, stepping into the throw with a perfect base, throwing over his shoulder, flicking his wrist and following through.

5:32 (7:04): It is incredible to see the difference between Stephen Morris and Teddy Bridgewater. After spending hours reading Matt Waldman's RSP blog, I now understand how scouts can differentiate between why Player X is worth a 3rd round and Player Y is worth a 4th round pick. Stephen Morris has the ceiling of Josh Freeman and is maybe worth a 4th round pick.

3:49 (7:08): Drop #2 by a Cardinals receiver.

1:45 (7:17): First poor decision by Bridgewater. His receiver was blanketed on the sideline and that pass probably should have been picked off. Still, it's wild that it has taken him two quarters to make his first mistake.

Also this guy is awesome. I hope I can grow a mustache like that when I grow up so I look less creepy when I hang around elementary schools.

Screen_shot_2013-12-29_at_8

1:17 (7:18): Bridgewater finally shows off his athleticism in the pocket and does his best Johnny Manziel impersonation. The rush comes and he turns his shoulders to run to the left, then spins back to the right to escape the pressure and delivers a sublime touch pass that hits his receiver right in stride. This play is so Russell Wilson-esque it is sickening. I hate when a quarterback turns his shoulders in the pocket; in the NFL, quarterbacks are rarely faster than defensive ends and he's taking his eyes off of his receivers as well. However, in this case, all I could do was marvel over his athleticism.

:34 (7:21): Before the half, Bridgewater completes passes for 4, 21, 7, 16, and 12 yards to punch the ball in the end zone to make the score 22-2. On this touchdown play, he floats the ball over the defender to a slot receiver running a fade route into the corner of the end zone.

His numbers at the half? A filthy 19-26 for 231 yards with 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Could it be I'm falling in love?

3rd Qtr

13:37 (7:49): Miami brings the blitz again and it does not faze Bridgewater. He just steps up in the pocket and completes a six yard pass to pick up the first down.

13:02 (7:50): He even throws passes to the flat with incredible accuracy.

9:04 (7:55): Run for a loss of two yards, Teddy has been able to kill it in the air even though the Cardinals have been horrific on the ground.

8:20 (7:58): Screen play and Perry breaks three tackles to walk into the endzone. Louisville has crushed Miami with their screen game and Bridgewater's numbers will be inflated at the end of the game because of it.

6:39 (8:06): Now Miami has lost 19 yards on a screen pass that traveled behind the line of the scrimmage. This play pretty much sums up the Hurricanes' night.

2:26 (8:15): Deep throw down the left sideline by Teddy B. He has him open, but he underthrew him this time. After leading his receivers too far earlier on deep passes, he now overcompensates with an underthrown pass. The only fault you can find with Bridgewater's game today is his accuracy on passes that travel farther than fifteen yards in the air.

4th Qtr

12:25 (8:29): In the red zone, the Cardinals run a boot to the right this time and Bridgewater outruns a defensive end, stiff arms someone else, and trots into the end zone like a glorious stallion.

5:54 (8:49): He still is killing Miami by attacking the middle of the field.

Someone needs to tell this announcer to stop trying to build an argument for him to stay. Teddy, leave Louisville and come flourish in Houston.

1:46 (9:03): The Florida crowd is now chanting Teddy's name after he walks off the field. His last play of the night was a 25 yard completion. He then hands his helmet to someone and launches himself into his mother's arms. This really does not seem like someone who is going to come back for another year.

(9:06): The weaselly reporter tries to get an answer out of Bridgewater about his future plans when Teddy says,"What a great way to be sent off after having a performance like this in front of your home crowd." Of course, he responds with some rendition about how he is going to talk it over with his mom and coaches before he makes a decision.

Bridgewater's numbers for the night were 35-45 (77% completion rate) for 447 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, and 6 rushes for 24 yards and another TD. Yes, his numbers are inflated by some high YAC thanks to some gorgeous screen passes. Regardless, it was an awe-inspiring performance.

If you claim after watching him that he is just alright and not worthy of the #1 pick, you must be high on some really terrible drugs. He does everything that you look for in a quarterback: his drop back is quick and crisp, he follows through with all of his throws, everything is going forward when he throws, he progresses through all of his reads, uses his eyes to manipulate the secondary, throws to a spot not a player, leads his receivers, and lastly, he is dynamic and athletic yet does not rely on his athleticism to be successful.

The only knock I think I could come up with is that he lacked touch on some of his deeper throws, and that you have to put his performance into context because it was against the 87th best defense. He is under 200 pounds, but like most 21 year olds he will be able to put on muscle over the next couple of years. His mechanics are nearly perfect and he looks like he is ready to make the jump to the professional game. After seeing Houston lose another BOOOOOOOORING game yesterday for the 14th game in a row, it is beautiful to imagine that this could be the light at end of the tunnel. It may be 371 days since the Houston Texans will get a chance to win another regular season game, but at least we won't have to endure another season of hell like this one.

We are now just a coming out party away from #PeeAndPoopTheBedForTed to come to fruition.

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